Rodent Exclusion for Restaurants

David Bennett

When you go out to eat, you expect to have a lovely time.  We as customers

have standards that we expect to have upheld in a restaurant: cleanliness, an appealing atmosphere, good food, and an environment in which we feel well looked after, and safe.    We don’t expect to have rats dropping out of the ceiling or running beneath our feet.    We’ve all heard of restaurants being shut down for having rat droppings in the kitchen where food is prepared, because rodents present health hazards to us if their droppings or urine contaminate our food—those things can make us sick.  Health departments are proactive about ensuring restaurants uphold high standards for cleanliness, and upholding those standards mean that every restaurant should have an Integrated Pest Management program in place as a management plan to prevent infestations.  Preventing infestations before they start safeguard public health and help to protect the reputation of any eating establishment. The last thing any restaurant owner wants, or needs is to be listed in the paper for a rodent or insect infestation.  In this article, we will focus on the importance of exclusion practices, to prevent infestations starting (or returning).   

Why Exclusion?  

It may seem obvious why a restaurant manager, owner, would want to prevent rodent infestations. Cleanliness is paramount in running a successful restaurant.    It is said that bussing tables, washing dishes, and keeping the dining area clean for customers makes the food taste better, and it certainly maintains a pleasant atmosphere.  It also increases customer trust in your establishment and boosts your profits. Here are a few more points for consideration from JDM Pest Control:

“Rats, mice, flies, ants, and cockroaches are the most common pests that can chew up a business’ money. As soon as they enter your food facility, the damage they cause can be massive.

  • Property damage– Holes bored through walls and food containers and chewed electrical wiring eat into your profits.
  • Spread of disease– Contamination of food and work surfaces puts human health at risk.
  • Loss of public confidence– The sight of flies in a dining area or kitchen or roaches skittering across the floor creates negative impressions about your food handling practices. Consumer trust decreases and you may get an unpleasant visit from the health inspector.
  • Business closure– If not properly handled, pest infestation may lead to temporary or permanent shut down of your business operations.”

QSR Magazine explains further: “Because 20 percent of a restaurant’s health inspection score is based on the pest control portion, restaurant owners and managers have to be diligent in having an effective pest management program in place. Local news outlets aren’t the only watchdogs that owners and managers need to be aware of either. Diners can now easily alert their friends or communities about a restaurant pest sighting with just the click of a button on social media or online review sites like Yelp. To help prevent failing the pest control portion of your inspection and avoid negative publicity, it’s important to be aware of the pests that pose the greatest threat to your restaurant.”


Rodents contaminate nearly everything they walk through—they leave urine trails and fecal droppings, and spread diseases like hantavirus, and mouse dander can cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.  The solution is a little more than spraying and setting out poisons. It requires careful planning with your pest control professional.   

Integrated Pest Management and Exclusion for Foodservice Establishments

It is a fact that by the very nature of the business, which revolves around food, that restaurants will attract all sorts of pests who like to eat—and as we just described, will contaminate food and pose a public health risk.   For this reason, it is imperative that any restaurant owner have an Integrated Pest Management plan in place in partnership with your chosen Pest Management Professional.  Your PMP can help you createan individualized Integrated Pest Management plan that is just right for

whatever issue you may be having—whether for rats or mice, which require different approaches.   Food Safety Magazine explains: “IPM is the use ofintegratedtechniques, such as exclusion, sanitation and baiting, to control pests, which are any creatures you don’t want inside your food establishment (rats, mice, cockroaches, flies, etc.), utilizing managementtools, such as reports on pest location, pest type, needed repairs and processes that get action when action is needed. It utilizes the least toxic methods that will get the job done. It is knowing your pest so that you can use its own habits and behaviors against it.” 

Exclusion is a prudent element of rodent control.  Increasingly in today’s society, people are more well educated about the use of rodenticides and pesticides and seek safer methods to prevent and control rodent infestations.   PCT Online highlightsthe implications of this for pest control management companies: “With high (sometimes unreasonable) expectations, customers are apt to switch service providers if even one pest is observed. To address this new market, some companies have raised the bar by offering proactive services to prevent pest problems over the long term. When done correctly, this requires a skill set that is not traditionally found within the pest management industry, because proper exclusion requires the selection of appropriate construction materials and application of correct techniques. The company that offers expertise in exclusion will have an advantage in the current business climate.” 

Detailed inspection is recommended first step, identifying, documenting venerable rodent entry points, for scheduled repair, including cracks in the building, old pipes and other miscellaneous entry points through which rodents may enter, Rodent residual grease marks and other evidence are valuable tell-tale signs of rodent habits. Other target areas for inspection are existing door brush strips, weather proofing or door sweeps. Brush sweeps are common, offering little resistance to mice and rats, in case of double swing doors pay attention astragal gap space at the bottom, where brush or weather strips meet between them, shoring it up keeps rodents out, preventing further escalation or infestation.

In areas that is used for storage, food supplies, laundry for table cloths, napkins, other catering, restaurant provisions for supply requirements, if pallet jacks, forklifts or hand carts are used, often method to open doors is by collision, due to being high volume traveled thoroughfares. The shielding protection strip to protect brush sweeps or other door sweeps are commonly made from aluminum, susceptible to damage to damage after short time, creating an opportunity for a rodent reentry point.


Laying poisoned bait should be a last resort to prevent inadvertent food contamination and health issues related to the poisons for everyone.  Integrated Pest Management is managing to individual applications in this instance using the least toxic methods first. As rodents don’t like open spaces, part of IPM means keeping grass outside short, shrubbery trimmed makes them hesitant to cross open spaces to get into the restaurant.  Cutting off as much as possible, potential food and water supplies for rodents is essential. Putting trash in sealed dumpsters and sealed cans is paramount. Keeping counters and floors free of food bits and bobs inside helps too, We urge frequent inspections and periodic thorough cleaning of the entire restaurant.

Documentation of infestations and repairs is also

part of Integrated Pest Management.  Good documentation helps your PMP target problem areas more efficiently, so they know exactly what and where to target,  rather than laying traps and/or baits willy-nilly all over the place, utilize trap monitoring devices and data enhancing effective deployment.  (There are solid mobile apps being developed simplifying ability to manage, capture, annotate document for IPM or daily management of standard pest control)

 A good Integrated Pest Management program in partnership with your Pest Management Professional helps increase your profits, boosts public trust in your establishment, and keeps the public safe.   Running a restaurant is hard work, rewarding, and can be fun.  Restaurants make many good memories for customers for years to come—engagements, wedding parties, baby showers, graduations, first dates—all of these life changing events take place at restaurants.   Integrated Pest Management ensures these good memories are the memories that last.  Nobody wants the only memory of their establishment to be a rodent (or many rodents) causing panic and disgust to customers and potential customers!  

Tags: Eco Friendly, Exclusion, Food Processing industry, Food quality and safety, Integrated Pest Management, IPM, NPMA, NWCOA, NYPMA, Pest Control, Pest management, Pest Management Canada 2019, Pest Proofing, PestWorld2019, Public Health, Quality Assurance, restaurants, Rodent exclusion, Rodexit

2 thoughts on “Rodent Exclusion for Restaurants


    I am from India and giving pest control service to dairy industry and I have major.roblem.of.rodents in can you send details and to.get rid of this problem

    1. David Bennett says:

      Hello Rajendra, Thanks for question, with not knowing all the details, initial response is to develop a plan using IPM. an Integrated Pest Management approach. 1. Inspection of site 2. Documentation:- rodent activity, where they are entering, if possible utilize cameras, film footage monitoring activity, isolating entry points, what they are attracted to.Causes of why the rodent are targeting this area. 3.Assess best methods of pest control to deploy, assessing risk associated taken into consideration. 4.Provide exclusion at known rodent entry points, if you don’t provide this service, share findings with customer and employ a contractor. 5.Educate the customer, recommendations to change environment for what is the cause of why they have the rodent problems, example, unmanaged garbage waste, uncovered or unsecured access to animal feed. 6.Set up inspection schedule, measure, monitor impact, adjust where necessary (As rodent will adjust there strategy also)

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